Sydney, Australia, Apr 6 (EFE).- The remains of Mungo Man, Mungo Lady, and those of 106 other Indigenous people, dating back some 42,000 years, will be buried in an aboriginal territory in the New South Wales region of Australia, the government said on Wednesday.
Speaking at the Mungo national park, Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the government decided to bury the remains of the 108 Aboriginal people in the Willandra Lakes Region.
“This has been a passionately debated issue that goes to the essence of Australia’s history and that of mankind itself. The Australian government’s careful assessment has now given all parties their chance to put forward those views,” Ley said.
“I spent time at Willandra Lakes last month discussing the issues with traditional owners, and other stakeholders over recent months, and I have reviewed the assessment thoroughly,” she said.
She said it was important to document the history, but “it is equally important that we respect the cultural intent of the burial process and the heartfelt views of the descendants.”
The decision comes after the minister ordered an environmental impact assessment of the massive burials of these archaeological remains in the Willandra Lakes region, a dry lake area declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981.
The discovery of Mungo Lady in 1968 and Mungo Man in 1974 captured world headlines as some of the oldest ritual burials ever recorded by humans.
Geologist Jim Bowler and his team from Australian National University made the discoveries.
In the years since it has sparked a fierce debate about their importance to human anthropology and respect for the cultural traditions that made them so significant in the first place.
The remains of Mungo Man, returned to his descendants in November 2017 for burial in a safe and secret location, were carefully placed with his limbs outstretched and his hands crossed over his groin.
The Aboriginal ancestor in his 50s was 5 feet 7 inches tall and suffered from severe arthritis. EFE